2011 MLS player salaries unveiled

BeckhamHenry (Getty)

Lost in the midst of the weekend MLS action was the news that Major League Soccer's players union had revealed the 2011 salaries for the league's players.

To nobody's surprise, David Beckham and Thierry Henry are the highest-paid players in MLS. In fact, the four highest-paid players in MLS were on the field together in Saturday night's LA-New York match.

The salary list also revealed some real bargains, such as New York's Tim Ream ($62,625), Seattle's Mauro Rosales ($42,000) and Chicago's Diego Chaves ($45,000).

Here are the 2011 MLS player salaries.

Give the list a look and tell us who you think some of the best bargains and most overpaid players in the league are.

Share your thoughts below.

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83 Responses to 2011 MLS player salaries unveiled

  1. sandra says:

    For the sounders rosales is an amazing deal!! It makes me love him even more! I don’t know why he is that cheap!
    Noonan and jaqua are wayyy overpaid!!

  2. Minnesota Nice FC says:

    What makes up the difference between base salary and guaranteed compensation?

  3. ga-gone says:

    Signing bonus. So if you get a 60K signing bonus on a 3 year deal, it will count 20K per season over your base salaries.

  4. When the American soccer fan cries about players choosing to play in midling leagues of Scandanavia/Europe, etc. remember some of the salaries you see on this list…not to mention it is easier to make jump to even bigger leagues with more money on table. True, it does not work out for everyone, but as long as MLS has current salary structure and restrictive loan policy you will see talent choose these leagues over MLS.

    And this comes from a supporter of the way MLS has built the product…but it is time to make some tweaks. Especially in the transfer policy.

  5. JJ's shin says:

    Was anyone else shocked that Fabian Espindola only makes $75,000?

  6. wides in MN says:

    Omar Cummings only makes $80K … paltry compared to Conor Casey’s $400K

  7. Ian says:

    YES! Shocked and a little saddened, to be honest. He has more talent in his pinky toe than 95% of the six-figure guys.

  8. DCP says:

    Picture Caption – Can you believe that we are getting paid more than the rest of our teammates combined??? HA

  9. Ian says:

    I understand the salary cap system, but what’s the difference between MLS’ transfer policy and, say, the EPL or La Liga?

  10. brian says:


  11. boosted335 says:

    George John at $42k held Charlie Davies to 0Goals, 0Assist, 0SOG, 1FS

  12. Dave says:

    Championship players earn an average salary of £195,750, League One players £67,850 and League Two £49,600. (the Independent)

    So basically, on a wage scale, MLS is somewhere between Championship and League one, which is also probably where we fit in on the competition scale.

    Also, figure in that the MLS is trying to at least break even, which is not necessarily true of most of English soccer.

    Figure in this:

    Age 17-18 £22,500
    Age 19-20 £43,700
    Age 21-22 £79,000
    Age 23-24 £79,200
    Age 25-26 £136,000

    Our young stars don’t necessarily get paid well to move to Europe.

  13. Ryan says:

    Doesn’t it seem like quite a few backup keepers are overpaid? I was surprised to see some teams with three six-figure GKs…

  14. tim says:

    it is hard to get a loan from mls and the league keeps 100% of the transfer revenue when sold unlike other leagues where the player gets a cut.

  15. Dan says:

    Keep in mind the value of the pound vs the dollar. Tim Ream making $62,625 is less than his age group’s average in the Championship…and that’s before you convert to dollars…79,200 pounds is close to $130,000 meaning Ream makes less than half of the average championship player in his age group.

  16. Jack says:

    Don’t forget that the pound is nearly double the dollar.

    79,000 pounds is around 130,000 USD.

  17. Annelid Gustator says:

    The league only keeps a portion of transfer fees. Depends in a relatively complicated way on roster category and tenure.

  18. MicahK says:

    Is this how much they get paid a year or a month ?

  19. Jason Harris says:

    $250,000 for Kenny Cooper?

  20. Annelid Gustator says:

    Philly and Portland are frugal.

  21. ga-gone says:

    per year, this is the amount they get for the whole season

  22. ga-gone says:

    has looked worth it so far

  23. roger says:

    looking at this maakes me realize I made a wise decision to stop playing collegiate soccer and become an accountant.

  24. Harris says:

    Fire need to get rid of castillo.

  25. Frank says:

    He is already at Aris and shining there. Fire did not have any talent around him to take advantage of his skills. I think he is staying at Aris.

  26. RSL Jeff says:

    Yes but they also pay for everything in the pound which increase the cost of living. Also the pound is 1.6 not 2 to 1.

  27. Kevin says:

    I know Portland is one of the younger teams in the league by age as well as they wanted to build their system for the most part, not just spend to get names. I believe this is why their overall salary is low.

  28. Jamie says:

    Are these salaries actually what they get paid? I thought the Dynamo signed Koke for almost $2million. There were several reports on that. If we’re only paying him $150k, he’s a moron for leaving Aris where he made $1.5 million last season at age 27!

  29. McNulty says:

    Mondragon was a steal at just north of $200k. That guy is worth DP money.

  30. John says:

    Yeah but the cost of living in England is in pounds not in dollars so it levels out.

  31. Korey says:

    Agudelo is already under paid. I also can’t believe Hejduk makes less than 100 grand.

  32. fischy says:

    You’re writing about bargains, but there’s one salary that is so outrageously high, I’ve got to believe it must be a mistake.

    DC United had the 1st pick in the FA draft. In the first phase, they passed on some of the higher-priced players, to take what everyone called a “bargain” player — Joseph Ngwenya, who made $72,000 last year. As I understand the rules, Ngwenya might have qualified as a 30/8 player, meaning DC had to offer him 105% of his previous salary. THat would be a little over $75,000.

    For some reason, Ngwenya is listed as getting $156,000. That’s not 105 of his old salary — it represents more than a 105% raise — Actually it’s over 210% higher than his prior salary. Maybe, it’s possible that Ngwenya had some foreign offers with which DC had to compete, but this seems absurd.

  33. johnnycougar says:

    I love that Henry gets 5 million dollars and four cents. They were obviously picking a nice round number for the $5 million part, but $0.04 extra? That’s a 0.0000008% tip.

  34. Spectra says:

    I’m even more shocked that they’re paying Luis Gil 185,000.

  35. Brian says:

    For Portland, Gleeson at 40k is a steal compared to Perkins 280k and Brown 75k. I think the kid is going to soon get a raise or be traded to a team in need that can pay him what he is worth.

    Goldthwaite at 126k for a bench player does not look good. He has been outplayed by Danso 75k and Horst 42k and Brunner 74k.

    Nagbe for Generation Addidas at 200k seems high for an untested quantity just out of the draft, compared to Charra, Portland’s lone designated player at 143k which is just a bit more than 50% of what Kenny Cooper makes at 267k. Shouldn’t Cooper really be the DP?

    The list does help explain some of the playing time decisions the organization has made. Higher salary players will get more playing time.

  36. boosted335 says:


  37. s-bah says:

    yeah, just don’t tell Rosales that. For the Seattle area and that cost of living, he’s not making very much.

  38. David says:

    Ibrahim Salou (NYRB) has a great agent

  39. bryan says:

    Casey makes $400,000?!?! wow. and i can’t believe juninho makes less than magee, barrett and dunivant.

    i love that henry’s total salary is $5,600,000.04. those four pennies are important!

    i can’t believe espindola only makes $75K, especially while Gil is pulling in $185K. or arturo pulling in $201K.

  40. David says:

    Has Nagbe played much?

  41. bryan says:

    i agree. i saw that too. way too much for him.

  42. David says:

    Arturro Alvarez (RSL)continues to be a giant enigma to me with his salary number as well.

    I just don’t get it? RSL fans, what am I missing? Too much money for a depth player on a very good team!

  43. Brian says:

    He has started the last two games and came off the bench the two games before that. He was injured the first part of the season.

    He does have talent and is either that good or is still young enough to have the confidence to take players on with the dribble. So often older players have this aspect of their game driven out of them by coaches who don’t want to lose possession.

    He is still feeling out the team and the league so it is hard to say how good he will become. At this early point, he is not one of the five best players on the team to have a salary like that. Time will tell.

  44. mcm says:

    He is a starter now that he is back from his hernia surgery.

  45. Oranje Mike says:

    Casey laughs all the way to the bank.

  46. Magas says:

    $ 1,345,500 = Ferriera + Zakuani + Morales.

    $ 280,000 = Leathers + Mullan + Mondaini.

  47. bondopher says:

    Taino, Solli, Lindpere…I think you’d have to say those guys are providing some serious value right now for what they make.

  48. chuck says:

    I always wanted to be a professional soccer star. But now I know I couldn’t afford the pay cut.

  49. beckster says:

    I am very surprised at the low salaries of the Earthquakes. I didn’t take a calculator but I don’t think the whole team adds up to Donovan’s salary.

  50. DC Josh says:

    Conor Casey is making more than 4 times more than Omar Cummings. What a travesty.

  51. giaco says:

    OUCH! Literally and figuratively.

  52. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Does Frankie even play?

  53. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense to me, either. Also, he really loved that place. He was crying during his press conference saying he was leaving.

  54. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    What is a 30/8 player, exactly?

  55. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    How is Chara considered a DP if he makes less than 150k per year?

    (SBI-The transfer/loan fee is factored into his salary figure, so THAT is above the max salary threshold, making him a DP.)

  56. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Also, according to the commentators on one of Portland’s games, Nagbe was the best player during their preseason camp. Then he got the hernia.

  57. wides in MN says:

    That’s because he’s Generation Adidas… it’s aimed at keeping some of the younger talent here. Those who could potentially go make the jump right to a club in europe.

    They’re paying him on potential, and the idea/hope that he’ll be a star in the league someday.

  58. CR says:

    Juninho makes less then I thought he would. He’s been good the past few seasons.

    Charlie Davies is another steal. Obviously there were questions about his fitness at first, but he’s scoring like Bob Barker in a nursing home.

    Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Radivoje, and Ibrahim Salou all make much, much more than the current golden boot leader.

  59. Al_OC says:

    I was told, in France, tip is typically included in the price and so people normally just leave “loose change”.

    MLS is just trying to make Henry feel at home. :)

  60. JohnC says:

    dont forget Branko and whatever scrub took him out in the 81st minute of a USOC game after he had just scored his second goal and had two woodwork dingers.

  61. JohnC says:

    Omar Cummings was a reserve league player 3 seasons ago when he prob. got a marginal raise- all sports work this way, you sign a contract and you play it out. Conor Casey has always been a known quantity, Omar Cummings was a 3rd round pick out of Cinncinati in 2006, would you have gave him a 3 yr contract with two option years for more than 80,000 per year??? Well you probably would considering Fred is paid over 150,000 to dilly dally on the ball, not play defense and clog up the middle while being played on the wing.

  62. Rather than just pointing out travesties of the market (read: Cummings/Casey), this list SCREAMS for a Sabremetric analysis of who the MLS Best Value XI is.

    And I think every owner in the league would want to see it.

  63. Jason B says:

    Tim Ream, Diego Chaves, Sean Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Lovel Palmer, Joel Lindpere, AJ DeLaGarza, Juninho to name a few.

    Anybody else got any other ideas?

  64. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Beckham. Wait, never mind.

  65. Brian says:

    I think since he got selected in the 2nd round of the Re-Entry draft so the Galaxy only had to give him a “Genuine Offer” and not a “Bona Fide Offer” meaning they didn’t have to give him an offer that was 5% greater than their 2010 annual base salary (due to his 8+ years MLS experience). And I’m assuming they didn’t even have to match his 2010 base salary either.

    I think Frankie just wanted to be close to home. The money is probably just a bonus for him.

  66. Josh D says:

    MLS owns a player so if you want to move, you have to get permission from them. In the EPL you just need to get permission from your club or if it’s less than a year you can sign a Bosman contract.

    The league has no right to own a player in my opinion. But they’re power to be had there and MLS is not in a position to want to see that disappear.

  67. Brian says:

    Brian Perk makin for scratch than Josh Saunders. Is Perk a GA?

  68. Josh D says:

    Davies’ salary is a lot lower than I expected – wonder how much his parent club is spending on his salary. Gives us hope that he won’t cost DP salary if we buy him…

  69. K-Town says:

    Nobody ever factors in taxes either. Look at what is gong on in Denmark. You pay more money on taxes in Europe than here in the US.

  70. Sgc says:

    But suffice to say it is almost always a majority that the team keeps, not the league.

  71. KutamaObama says:

    Yeah even though they have the power (though not 100%), they still have to abide by the rules & regulations of FIFA, the Bosman ruling etc….Chris Rolfe I think used the Bosman Rule to sign with Aalborg six months before his contract ended, MLS couldn’t do anything about it……so they don’t really have 100% control except for those who are under contract as in other clubs around the world……imagine if FIFA wasn’t around to check up on these clubs & organizations, players would have been ripped off like crazy……

  72. boost335 says:

    Cleary the CB of that unit would be John/Ream

  73. boosted335 says:


  74. LA G says:

    Chad Barret…C’mon now

  75. Durante says:

    Dock those hacks’ pay until the skillful players return….Just seeing their names disgusts me

  76. Dq says:

    10 games was not enough…Suspend their pay until the stars returns

  77. Roberto says:

    Why Teal Bunbury is missing in that list?

  78. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    Post of the year

  79. Brian says:

    He’s on the bottom of page 4

  80. joe says:

    Luke Rodgers transfered to NY from Knotts County (recently promoted to League One). He only played in 4 games with them this season and made the move in March. He’s making $180,000 with the Red Bulls.

  81. BWH says:

    I believe there was something like a $2M transfer fee paid to bring Chara to Portland, which makes him the DP.